A woman described as a Canadian political legend is accusing Stephen Harper of behaving like a phone scammer who targets seniors.
On Wednesday, federal Liberals released a 30-second ad that features "Hurricane" Hazel McCallion, the 94-year-old who served as mayor of Mississauga for 36 years and whose influence still looms large over the battleground GTA city.
In the spot, McCallion says the Conservative leader isn't telling the truth by claiming Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau will cancel income splitting for seniors, a policy that allows pensioners to allocate up to half their pension income to their spouse, resulting in big tax savings.
"Harper thinks we're scared," McCallion says to the camera.
The ad cuts to a clip of a speech Trudeau gave to the Canadian Association of Retired Persons in September, where he pledged to not touch pension splitting for seniors.
While Liberals have vowed to scrap income splitting for families, a policy they say only benefits 15 per cent of Canadian households, they have spelled out in their platform that the measure for seniors will not be eliminated if they form government.
McCallion also highlights in the ad that Trudeau will restore Old Age Security back to the age of 65, from 67 — a move she says will mean up to $30,000 more per year for seniors.
"Stephen, do I look scared to you?" she says at the end with the tone of a scolding grandmother.
The ad comes in the wake of a number of Conservative spots that not-so-subtly hint the Liberals will scrap pension splitting for seniors.
One ad mention Trudeau's plan to cancel income splitting, calling it "something families and seniors rely on." Another shows images of older couples grocery shopping and doing their taxes while the ad mentions the Liberal pledge to scrap income splitting.
Another Tory ad iPolitics reported in July was broadcast on TV (but is seemingly unavailable online), showed an older man complaining that "without pension splitting, my wife and I would be in a bit of trouble."
McCallion endorsed Trudeau last month, but has sung the Liberal leader's praises for some time.
"He's a young man with a vision. This lack of experience – age is strictly a matter of mind over matter," she told Global News in September.
McCallion also told The Toronto Star last Saturday that Trudeau is a "strong, energetic leader" who will bring change for Canadian cities.
The former mayor lauded the Liberal plan to go into deficit to increase spending on infrastructure.
McCallion endorsed Kathleen Wynne during the Ontario election in 2014 and publicly backed John Tory's run for Toronto mayor. She also anointed Bonnie Crombie as her successor in the Mississauga mayoral race. All three won.
McCallion did not make an endorsement in the 2011 federal election. All six Mississauga seats were won by the Tories.
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